“. . . Don’t worry, your son is still in his grave . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

bahaa elayyan
Muhammad Elayyan makes the victory sign after the body of his slain son Bahaa Elayyan is released by Israeli authorities, Sept. 1, 2016. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

❶ After 325 days, Israel returns body of slain Palestinian Bahaa Elayyan to his family
❷ Israel shuts down Palestinian radio station amid escalation in press violations
. . . ❷― (ᴀ)   Israeli violations against journalists in occupied territory increase by 17% in first half of 2016
❸ Israeli forces detain 10 Palestinians, including journalist, in West Bank night raids

  • Background from Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. “. . . discourse . . .  itself actually functions to shield Israeli society from the criticism that it deserves.” 

❹ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
Sept. 1, 2016
Israeli authorities returned the body of Palestinian Bahaa Elayyan on Thursday at dawn, allowing his family — which has been leading the movement advocating for Israel to release slain Palestinians’ bodies — to bury him 325 days after his death.
___Elayyan, a 22-year-old resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabbir, was killed alongside another Palestinian after they attacked an Israeli bus with on Oct. 13, killing three Israelis with knives and a gun.
___His body was buried at the al-Mujahidin cemetery near the Old City of Jerusalem, in accordance with stipulations from Israeli police, which has allowed the release of bodies of slain Palestinians from East Jerusalem accused of “terrorism” on the condition that they no longer have funerals in their neighborhoods or villages, but would instead be buried in cemeteries chosen by the police.    MORE . . .   

Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 28, 2016
A Palestinian press freedoms watchdog on Saturday said Israeli violations against media freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territory had continued to rise at a rapid pace over the first half of 2016.
___The increase came even after the group reported an “unprecedented” increase in violations throughout 2015 — “the highest ever to be monitored in Palestine” since the group started monitoring violations against media freedoms more than a decade ago.   ___The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms, known as MADA, recorded a 17 percent escalation of violations by Israeli authorities during the first half of 2016.     MORE . . .

Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Aug. 31, 2016
The Journalists support committee called upon the international institutions concerned with the rights of journalists to put pressure on the Israeli occupation to stop its aggression against the Palestinian journalists.
___The Committee called in a statement issued on Wednesday, for the release of journalists and media workers in the radio without charge attributed to them, and with the guarantee of freedom of opinion and expression as guaranteed to them in accordance with international laws.
___Earlier this morning, the Israeli occupation forces arrested at dawn the entire crew of Al-Sanabel Radio in the southern city of Hebron south of the West Bank, after the closing and confiscating of its entire contents.      MORE . . .   

Ma’an News Agency
Sept. 1, 2016
Israeli forces detained at least 10 Palestinians, including a journalist, in Wednesday night raids across the occupied West Bank, Israeli and Palestinian sources said.
___The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reported on Thursday that four Palestinians were detained in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, including journalist and former prisoner Osama Shaheen.    MORE . . .

  • Elrahim, Amira Abd. “Lack of Security for Palestinians.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture 21.2 (2015): 28-35.  FULL ARTICLE

Unfortunately, the biased international media has always tried to exonerate Israel as an ethnic supremacist state from its guilt regarding ethnic cleansing. Many political analysts, activists and others fear being portrayed as anti-Semites. Conservative discourse surrounding anti-Semitism itself actually functions to shield Israeli society from the criticism that it deserves. This was obvious in the news coverage of the stabbing attacks in some of the international media channels. In the headlines, “stabbings” were presented as the root of the problem which justifies deadly responses and the murder of Palestinians. In this way, the responses were portrayed as responses to an external factor, which is the violence against Israelis. As a result, Israel was portrayed as a victim, changing victims into criminals, and criminals into victims.
___At the same time, social media by contrast threatens to damage the public image of Israel. It played a big role in removing the mask of the Israeli image through its ability to bypass the propaganda war of international media channels. The image of Israeli society has had barbarous periods before, but not like this one, in which every stabber or anyone who threatens with a knife, school scissors or a ruler is executed, even after he has thrown down his “weapon,” while the killer becomes the hero of the nation.
___The goal of this unilateral war is, on one hand, to force Palestinians to give up all their national demands in their homeland and, on the other hand, add privileges to the Israelis. Israel has chosen occupation over peace and has used negotiations as a smokescreen to advance its colonial project.

osama shahin 2
Osama Shaheen


I have not seen any horrors,
I have not seen a dragon in the land,
I have not seen the Kraken* in the sea,
nor a witch or a policeman
at the outset of my day.
Pirates have not overtaken mu desires,
thieves have not broken down the door of my life,
my absence has not been long,
it only took me one lifetime.

How come you saw scars
on my face, sorrow in my eyes,
and bruises in my bones and in my heart?
These are only illusions.
I have not seen any horrors,
everything was extremely normal.
Don’t worry,
your son is still in his grave, murdered,
and he’s fine.

From Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT AND OTHER POEMS. Trans. Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2008. Available from Barnes and Noble.

*a legendary sea monster of large proportions

“. . . dashing off to defile the purity of Jerusalem . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

Palestinians performed Friday prayers in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) building in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

❶ Hundreds commemorate Jewish holy day at Aqsa, 9 evacuated for violating regulations

  • Background: A Roman Catholic Perspective

❷ Palestinians perform Friday prayers at ICRC headquarters, demand release of hunger strikers

  • Background: A Muslim Perspective

❸ Israeli Soldiers Occupy A Palestinian Home In Bethlehem

  • About the Kairos Palestine Document

❹ Poetry by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 14, 2016
Hundreds of Jewish worshippers gathered inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday morning to commemorate the Jewish fasting holy day of Tisha Bav, which commemorates the destruction of Judaism’s First and Second Temple in Jerusalem, amid heightened security measures throughout the city and the occupied West Bank.
___Public information officer of the department of the Islamic Endowment (Waqf) — the religious trust responsible for managing the compound — told Ma’an that more than 180 extremist Israeli settlers “stormed the compound” in groups throughout the morning.
___Witnesses added that they saw some performing Jewish rituals inside the compound, in violation of long-standing agreements regarding non-Muslim worship at the site.   MORE . . .

  • Patriarch Michel Sabbah. “Religion And The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 20/21.4/1 (2015): 7-11.     SOURCE 

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is military and political. It is not a religious conflict between Palestinian Muslims or Christians and Judaism. It is a conflict between two peoples, the Jewish people and the Palestinian people. The conflict is a dispute over the land and the question: Is there a place for both peoples, and in what way? The Palestinian position was expressed in 1988, when the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized the state of Israel on 78% of the British Mandate land. After that, the Palestinians claimed, and are still claiming, the right to have an independent Palestinian state on the remaining 22% of the land. Israel, for its part, is still not clear about the question: is there a place for the two peoples, and in what way? In recent months, there were negative declarations from Israeli political leaders affirming that there will be no Palestine and there will be no peace.
___The conflict is political and military. But it also has a religious dimension. Religion inspires many in the conflict. Many Israelis, to support their right, advocate the Bible, the word of God, the promise of the land by God to the Jewish people. And some Muslim Palestinians also give a religious dimension to the land, and consider it entirely Muslim land. For many, on both sides, the conflict has become a fight for God and religion. Some Christians, too, the world’s Evangelicals and pro-Zionists, add their religious input and pro-Jewish advocacy to the fight. On both sides of the conflict, religion is advocated to support its own position. Some Christian Palestinians, in the Kairos document, and many other world churches with them, advocate religion to call for justice and reconciliation based on repentance and forgiveness.

Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 13, 2016
Dozens of Palestinians performed Friday prayers in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) building in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, in solidarity with the current wave of hunger striking prisoners.
___Upon the request of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and the Families of Jerusalem Detainees Committee, the Muslim worshipers gathered outside the building in order to draw attention to what Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, a local religious leader, said was the “Israeli authorities’ escalation of procedures against Jerusalemite prisoners.”    MORE . . .      BACKGROUND, ICRC   

  • Abu-Amr, Ziad.  “The Significance of Jerusalem: A Muslim Perspective.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 2.2 (1995): 7-11.    FULL ARTICLE

There is perhaps no other city in the world that has drawn the continued attention of the world community as much as the city of Jerusalem, especially among the adherents of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The city’s religious centrality has generated its historical and political importance, as well as its symbolic impact, but its religious position has also been at the root of a considerable controversy
[. . . .]
While the Muslims, for example, especially Palestinian and Arab Islamists, recognize the religious significance of Jerusalem to Christians and Jews, they stress the Muslim character of the city and Muslim entitlement to it, and their attachment to Jerusalem constitutes part of their doctrinal views of the city
[. . . .]
Historically speaking, Jerusalem has generally been the site for Muslim pilgrimage, prayer, study or residence. Al Aqsa Mosque was a particular seat of learning. Muslim scholars came to Jerusalem from distant lands. “Just as it is true to say that the first textbook in Islam was the Koran, so it is true to say that the first school was the mosque.

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
August 14, 2016
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Saturday evening, Harmala town, east of Bethlehem city in the occupied West Bank, and occupied a Palestinian home after kicking the family out.
___Resident Mohammad Sbeih told the Maan News Agency said that soldiers invaded his two-story home, and confiscated its keys before kicking him and his nine family members, including several children, out.
___He added that the soldiers told the family to “find another place to live, as long as Palestinian youths continue to hurl stones at the army vehicles.” MORE . . .

  • Kassis, Rifat Odeh. “‘A Moment Of Truth’: The Kairos Palestine Document.” Ecumenical Review 63.1 (2011): 120-122.     SOURCE  

On 11 December 2009, a group of Palestinian Christians representing a variety of churches and church-related organizations issued a call for an end to occupation of Palestine by Israel. The call, in a document, ‘‘A Moment of Truth: A word of faith, hope, and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering’’, raises questions to the international community, political leaders in the region, and churches worldwide about their contribution to the Palestinian people’s pursuit of freedom. In the document, also referred to as, ‘‘The Kairos Palestine Document’’, Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of their land is a sin against God and humanity, and that any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings because true Christian theology is a theology of love and solidarity with the oppressed, a call to justice and equality among peoples. The Palestinian call echoes a similar summons issued by South African churches in the mid-1980s at the height of repression under the apartheid regime. That call served to galvanize churches and the wider public in a concerted effort that eventually brought the end of apartheid. The Ecumenical Chronicle includes an introduction to the document by Rifat Odeh Kassis, the coordinator of Kairos Palestine, and texts by Imam A. Rashied Omar and John de Gruchy, both of whom come from South Africa. The full text of the document is available.

Israeli police accompany Jews past the Dome of the Rock mosque during a visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on April 25, 2016 during the Jewish Pesach (Passover) holiday. (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli / AFP)


But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.   St. Mark’s Gospel XII: 7-8

O Lord, O glory of the universe,
crucified this year on your birthday,
are the joys of Jerusalem
silenced on your birthday?
O Lord, all the bells
for two millenia have not been silenced
on your birthday
except for this year:
the domes of the bells are in mourning,
black wrapped in black.

Jerusalem along the Via Dolorosa,
whipped under the cross of ordeal,
bleeding at the hands of the executioner,
and the world is a sealed heart
in the face of affliction.
In this hard indifferent world, O Lord,
the sun’s eye is smothered: the world went astray
and was lost.
In the ordeal it did not even raise a candle.
It did not even shed a tear
to wash away the sorrows in Jerusalem.

The husbandmen killed the heir, O Lord,
and raped the vineyard.
The sinners of the world fledged the bird of evil
dashing off to defile the purity of Jerusalem,
damned and infernal, hated even by Satan.

O Lord, O glory of Jerusalem,
from the well of sorrows, from the abyss,
from the depth of the night,
from the heart of plight,
the wails of Jerusalem are raised up to you.
In your mercy, take away from me, O Lord, this cup!
――Translated by Ferial Ghazoul

From: Smith, Michael. Ed. “Contemporary Palestinian Poetry.” Free  Verse. English.chass.ncsu.edu. 2008. Web.
About Fadwa Tuqan

“. . . the mother throws a quick glance at the bed of her elder son . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

families sons
Families of slain Palestinians hold placards and portraits of their loved ones during a protest outside a mortuary in Jaffa, Israel, on June 22, 2016. (Photo: Press TV)

❶ ‘We want our sons’: Families of slain Palestinians held by Israel stage sit-in at Aqsa

  • From Washington Report On Middle East Affairs 

❷ IOA renews administrative detention of 15-year-old boy

  • From Journal of Comparative Family Studies

❸ Israeli forces kill Palestinian teenage girl in Hebron
❹ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
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Ma’an News Agency
June 24, 2016
Family members of slain Palestinians whose bodies are still being held by Israeli authorities staged a sit-in at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, demanding Israel return the bodies under their campaign titled: “We want our sons.”
___Participants in the sit-in raised posters emblazoned with the phrase: “We want the martyr–” with the name of each Palestinian and the date he was killed printed underneath.
___Muhammed Elayyan, father of Bahaa Elayyan, a Palestinian shot dead during an alleged car-ramming attack in October, said “we are here today to remind all worshipers who came to Al-Aqsa that the bodies of the eight martyrs have been in (Israeli) refrigerators for months.”     MORE . . .

From Washington Report On Middle East Affairs
Slow as the Israeli authorities are when it comes to punishing Jewish Israelis for crimes against Palestinians, retribution for the Israeli deaths was swift and severe [2015-2016]. Just after the government declared “an all-out war on Palestinian terrorism,” hundreds of Palestinians were arrested, and at least six killed. . . .
___In the coming weeks more Palestinian deaths followed, many of them of children under 16. But despite the mounting number of casualties, the demonstrations continued, along with the stabbings . . .  Israel’s minister of transportation, Yisrael Katz, warned that Israel’s response would soon resemble Operation Defensive Shield, Israel’s massive invasion of the West Bank in 2002 during the second intifada . . . .
___On Oct. 6 [2015], Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the PLO, called for international intervention to protect Palestinians from “relentless attacks by Israeli military forces and terrorist settlers.” Riyad Mansour, Palestinian ambassador to the U.N., wrote to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon charging Israel with assaulting medical emergency teams and preventing them from rescuing the wounded.
[. . . .]
___As the death toll on both sides increased, a young West Bank resident expressed the feelings of many Palestinians when he said, “I don’t want demonstrations, I want an agreement with Israel.” But . . . . Education Minister Naftali Bennett recently demanded that Netanyahu “free the bound hands of the army,” and rearrest all Palestinians released in past prisoner exchanges. He proposed that Israel build a new settlement after each Palestinian attack.

  • Marshall, Rachelle. “Lack Of Hope, Worsening Oppression Spur Young Palestinians To Act.” Washington Report On Middle East Affairs 34.8 (2015): 8-11.  SOURCE.

The Palestinian Information Center
June 25, 2016
The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) renewed the administrative detention of the Palestinian child Hamza Hamad, 15, for the second consecutive time. A rights group affirmed that Hamad’s administrative detention was renewed for four months after spending four months in Israeli jails without charge or trial. Hamad, whose father Muayed Hamad is held in Israeli jails and serving seven life sentences, was arrested from his house in Silwad town in Ramallah last February.      MORE . . .       RELATED. . . .

From Journal of Comparative Family Studies
Labeled as irregular child combatants in everyday crossfire, these children are easily relegated as regrettable but largely avoidable and ill-conceived footnotes in an encounter between irreconcilable grownups. .  . .
__However, Palestinian children are not simply “collateral damage” of the conflict in a black hole of law or those who have volunteered to be attacked because they have not been passive. They remain impermissible targets whose basic rights cannot be legally discounted though their context leads to problems of implementation. Those who argue that Palestinian children have forfeited their rights as children by their participation fail to unlock the complexities and context of these little vulnerable lives under assault as well as misconstrue the nature and scope of children’s rights. Over half of the population of Palestine are children’ but despite their increased profile within the conflict, they are largely constructed as mute victims or misguided puppets rather than participants in the process and possessors of rights.
___Dominant narratives – Palestinian, Arab, Israeli and Western – fail to fully consider the implications of daily degradation of life on the Palestinian childhood experience beyond the statistics of fatalities and injuries. Consider the residual quality of Palestinian childhood in face of the eclipse of children’s rights — of negations of Palestinian right to dignity and self-esteem, of personal development and family life, of education and opportunity, of health and adequate standard of living, of freedom from torture and stress, and most importantly, the right to a future.

  • Sirajsait, M. “Have Palestinian Children Forfeited Their Rights?” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 35.2 (2004): 211-228.  SOURCE.
shot dead
This photo provided by the Palestinian news agency Safa shows the aftermath of a car crash near the entrance of the Kiryat Arba settlement on the outskirts of the Palestinian city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on June 24, 2016. (PressTV)

Ma’an News Agency
June 24, 2016
A Palestinian woman was shot and killed Friday afternoon after her car crashed into a stationary vehicle, lightly injuring two Israelis in the Hebron district of the southern occupied West Bank in what the Israeli army has claimed was a car-ramming attack.
___An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that after a Palestinian woman allegedly carried out a car-ramming attack near the entrance of the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba in the eastern outskirts of Hebron, Israeli forces responded by firing towards the “assailant,” killing her.
___The Palestinian Ministry of Health confirmed her death, identifying her as Majd al-Khadour. Israeli sources said she was 18 years old.     MORE . . .


Waiting for the school bus,
watching his breath turn into mist near his nose
in the icy morning,
the schoolboy’s fingers are frozen,
too stiff to make a fist.

On the pillow of regret,
the defeated soldier
lazily tries to get up,
raising his broken toothbrush
to his teeth.

Early or late,
The stranger awakens in his exile, his homeland.
Their clothes, their car number pates, their trees,
their quarrels, their love, their land, their sea
belong to them.
His memories are like rats gathering on his doormat,
new and warm
in front of his closed door.

On a lonely pillow,
the mother throws a quick glance
at the bed of her elder son,
made for the final time
and empty, forever.

A voice from the neighbouring window is heard:
“Hello, good morning, how are you?”
“Hello, good morning, we’re fine,
we’re fine!”

From: Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Trans. By Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, Lancashire, UK: Arc Books, 2008. Available from B&N.
Mourid Barghouti (born July 8, 1944, in Deir Ghassana, near Ramallah, on the West Bank) is a Palestinian poet and writer. While Barghouti was studying at the University of Cairo in 1967, the 6-Day War broke out, and he was unable to return to the West Bank until 1996. He was expelled from Egypt in 1977 and was exiled in Budapest.